DirecTV contemplates Netflix-like streaming service

Satellite provider's web survey for subscribers indicates plans to enter streaming video fray

Satellite television company DirecTV on Tuesday asked subscribers via a web survey to answers a whole bunch of questions about Netflix.

Sounds weird, on the surface. But DirecTV clearly is trying to figure out what Netflix customers like and don't like so it can put together a competing service without a lot of trial and error.

Dave Zatz of the digital media blog Zatz Not Funny! (good blog title, BTW, Dave) posted some language from the DirecTV survey:

In this next section, we would like you to evaluate a new service that DIRECTV is thinking about offering to their customers. DIRECTV plans to offer a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month, which would appear as a line item on your monthly bill.

As with Netflix, the streamed content would be previous seasons of current TV shows as well as defunct TV series and older movies. It also would be "all you can watch" for a flat fee and would allow subscribers to view offerings on their computers or tablets in addition to their televisions.

So the list of Netflix competitors may be growing. Already this year Amazon.com and Facebook have announced streaming service plans, while Dish Network's recent acquisition of bankrupt video rental company Blockbuster's assets have sparked speculation that the DirecTV rival also is getting into the streaming game.

Netflix commented on Dish's plans in a letter to shareholders on Monday, when the company released its first-quarter earnings:

We also think Dish Networks is likely to launch a substantial subscription streaming effort under the Blockbuster brand.

Regarding how it plans to navigate the increasingly crowded streaming video field, Netflix told investors, "Our competitive strategy relative to other streaming services is simply to grow as fast as we can, so we can afford more content, more marketing, and more R&D than our competitors."

Really, what else can Netflix do?

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